Seeker

Whenever I stay somewhere for long enough it feels like I’ve always been there, like everything that happened before was some kind of dream I was having, recalled in fits and starts, flashes of people, lights, and sounds. Maybe I have been here forever. Maybe every passing moment is an eternity, or all moments in time exist simultaneously so that we are always in the places we have been and will be during our short, infinite lives.

All rivers must eventually empty into the sea, but the river remains. Every curve, bend, dip, narrowing and widening of the river exists simultaneously. Can we ever see it in its entirety? Can we ever feel it all at once? Can we ever know the whole of that vast river, of ourselves? Is this the impossible truth that I have felt lurking at the edges of my consciousness waiting to be comprehended? That every moment in time is the same moment?

I have been here before, and I will always be here, a brief flash of light in the darkness.

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Metaphors and similes buried within allegories. Have my thoughts and emotions become this obscure even to myself?

I am confused. I am in pain. I am afraid. I am tired of goodbyes and tired of feeling restless. I wish I could tolerate these feelings of uncertainty better.

How can I practice acceptance when I don’t even know what it is I’m accepting? I don’t even know what my choices are. I feel only a sense of searching, moving, and seeking. I wish I knew what the “right” thing was. Instead, I feel only the absence of it, like a definition through opposition, and its source remains mysterious to me, or I have chosen to ignore it.

Maybe this is just the way I am, and that is what I am trying to accept. He Who Seeks and Never Finds.

My heart feels so broken. Maybe it has always been broken, or it’s been broken for so long that I can’t remember what it felt like to be whole. Maybe my heart broke decades ago in another life and it hurt so badly that I turned it to stone to keep it from breaking again, from shattering into a thousand pieces. I wonder if what I am seeking is to mend that broken heart. I wonder if it can’t be fixed. I wonder whether or not it needs to be.

I think that maybe in order to use your heart in the way it was meant to be used you have to break it first. To see what is inside. To open it and let in the world and let yourself out into it. Who could ever get past that hard shell of an unbroken heart, a heart of stone? How could anyone see the light radiating from it and be drawn forth by their love and curiosity?

A heart of stone cannot beat. It cannot change, flex, or adapt. It cannot open. Stone resists, water flows, and constant dripping wears away the stone. The stone will always break.

Sometimes I feel myself flowing easily, like a stream, like frothing rapids shaped by stones, like an endless ocean. Sometimes I feel as if I have become so much like the water that my heart of stone always longed to be.

Sometimes I wonder if I don’t already have everything I need. The river flows. My heart is free, and broken, and everyone whose heart is broken is also free. Free to love. Free to grieve. Free to break, and into those cracks and holes flows an unbelievable amount of love, warmth, and kindness.

So flow. Flow like a river. Pour like rain.

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Limbo

My thoughts are scattered and dull. I feel half asleep, but I don’t know how to wake up. 

I tried to write something but all that came out were inscrutable metaphors;

Only in silence the word, only in dark the light, only in dying life; bright the hawk’s flight on the empty sky.”

The Creation of Éa, A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin

There is a door.

It’s made of rich, dark wood shaped into four panels. The molding around it is intricate, carved into curves, swirls, and waves. The details are hard to make out because my side of the door is dark. The only light available by which to see is a glow coming through the cracks around the door frame from the other side. It spills out of the door’s edges like leaking water as if the door may burst open like a floodgate. A simple iron keyhole casts a stark beam of blinding light into the darkness and illuminates nothing.

I exhale slowly and watch my breath stream out in front of me, an unseen force turned visible by the cold. I reach out an unsteady hand which hovers anxiously in front of the swirling grains of wood, knuckles poised to knock. I can hear voices on the other side laughing. Summoning all the courage I can muster I bring my enclosed fist down and rap on the sturdy wooden planks.

One, two, three times.

The sound is deafening. It reverberates within the cold, empty space, bouncing and echoing in the dark to fill the room like smoke. An eternity passes before the sound dies away completely.

The door remains shut.

My open hand trembles as I reach down and place on it on the iron lever shaped like water. The metal is cool to the touch.

One second. Two seconds. Three.

Slowly, I push down on the lever. The well-oiled springs and joints move tightly beneath my palm whining slightly in protest. I hear the metallic sound of bolts sliding, and the light grows brighter. I throw open the door.

 

There is a meadow.

I’m lying in the grass face up towards a bright, blue sky speckled with wispy white clouds. Birdsong punctuates the sounds of a soft breeze blowing across the grass and through the trees, and of cool water running lazily over earth and stone. Yellow and white wildflowers spring up in curious little bunches amid the bright green grass that waves, waves, waves like a sea.

The warm air feels like a soft blanket. The sun’s light pours its nourishment into my veins through my pores. The earth holds me as if I were born right there in that spot. The meadow and the stream sit between the edge of a forest and rolling green hills covered with gray stones. It feels like somewhere I have been before, a place of forever and never, everywhere and nowhere — it is as much a dream and a memory as it is a real place.

“How did I get here,” I ask the trees and stones.

If they have an answer to give I am unable to hear or understand it.

Where are all the happy people, I wonder to myself. The sounds of revelry, community, and connection I heard from the other side of the door, where have they gone? Is this place truly so empty?

Though, it’s not quite so empty as it seems, I think. The things here are the things that comprise everything that was, is, and will be.

Air. Water. Earth. Fire. Light.

Carbon. Hydrogen. Oxygen. Nitrogen. Sulfur.

 

Maybe the community is the dream and this is the real place — both the dark, cold, empty place and the verdant meadow. Everything else built on top of or out of these two opposites. Maybe the doorway is where the real Truth lies, the space between worlds, the knife’s edge of human consciousness and existence, a precarious cliff off of which we fall, alone in the darkness and the light.

Community exists on the middle, where we can share in the joy and misery of being alive, where we can share the energy and the pain of these two places as we move through them, crossing through the doorway as we do so.

Maintaining the balance of being on the middle path is tiring. Perhaps even the darkness is preferable, where at least I can wallow in attrition and apathy, sparing the least amount of effort. Perhaps the place in the sun is where I get lost in myself, in self-satisfaction, in bliss — where I forget about all of those people who dwell in darkness on the opposite side of the door.

It seems to me that passing through the doorway is so brief, like the shortest of the three. It seems to me I spend most of my time alone on either side.

And maybe…maybe there is yet more. Maybe there are countless doors. Maybe there is an entire world without doors. Or maybe it’s all a dream — the door, the meadow, the dark. Maybe it’s a metaphor borne out of a bored, fragile, and frightened mind searching for meaning in the world. Mere scraps of consciousness given some semblance of coherence by sheer willpower, only to fall apart at the first gust of wind. Creating meaning out of nothing, just like everyone else.

Maybe.

We

What silly, little beings we are.

Each one of us an infinite ocean of sorrow, joy, pain, love. Everything feels impossibly huge, like it will last forever. We hurt, and we cannot imagine anything but that pain. We love, and we cannot conceive of an existence without it. We grasp at it like a child paws the air wanting to be picked up, desperate and unaware of any motivation besides, “I want.”

And yet we flow back and forth, each moment and each place an eternity.

We struggle with ourselves and the world as we look always for the missing pieces instead of accepting the truth. We hate ourselves and we get angry at the world for denying us in our endless struggle to achieve completion. But we have set for ourselves an impossible task — the puzzle will never be complete. It can’t be.

So we shape thing like clay to try and fit them into those empty spaces. We resist life as it already is. We try to change the world around us into something else to give us what we think we need and thereby alter the very nature of things — such is the gift that only humans alone have been given. Not better or worse. Just different.

The world shifts around us by the simple act of our passing through it, and we in turn are altered by the world as we are caught up in the endless wakes and eddies of human activity.

Letting go of this desperate search for something that doesn’t exist seems like the best favor we can try to do for ourselves. Alas, even this searching is a part of us. We must accept even our inability to accept the world. To simply be instead of trying to change or mold. To somehow throw off the trappings of complex thought without becoming complacent or distant.

But this struggle is life. The practice of cultivating acceptance is never finished.

These are the truths that make me so tired, and give me so much hope for us. Hope in our uncanny ability to absorb pain and turn it into something beautiful. Hope that we can leave so much love in our wake.

-w.

Breathe

It’s strange how a song can speak to me even when I’m not really paying attention to it. The tune gets stuck in my head and I mindlessly sing or hum it and it isn’t until days or weeks later that I start actually listening to it and realize why. 

I wonder how many other things I do that with;

After all is said and done I feel the same. All that I hoped would change within me stayed. Like a huddled moon-lit exile on the shore warming his hands a thousand years ago. I walk with others in me yearning to get out. Claw at my skin and gnash their teeth and shout. One of them only wants to be someone you’d admire. One would just as soon throw you on the fire. After all is said and done, God only knows which one I’ll become.”

-Fleet Foxes, Someone You’d Admire

The future slowly coalesces into something knowable, graspable, recognizable — some kind of shape or form at the very least. Possibilities forming and breaking like banks of mist. I let my mind wander along those paths and imagine what it might be like. Where will I be? What will my life be like? Who will I be?

Looking forward and seeing something recognizable brings me a certain level of comfort, though I find myself wishing it didn’t. I find myself wishing I could be comfortable with and accept an unknown future, an unclear path, and nebulousness.

I have to remind myself that it’s okay to want something to hold onto, to want balance. Balance between no solid ground and absolute certainty, and always under the watchful eye of change and impermanence.

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Restless. Dissatisfied. Wondering what else is out there. Always wondering what would be better at taking away this feeling, this sensation of “something missing.”

What is keeping me from being satisfied with what is in front of me? How do I accept this part of myself without shame, guilt, or judgement — the part that is always seeking?

Can I truly let go of things that I will never have, or that are outside of my ability to control? Can I truly let them be and accept them for what they are? Can any of us?

I don’t know, but I do feel that practicing that acceptance has value even if the acceptance itself never actually comes.

Nothing but time can salve this pain. I can accept that truth, but the waiting is difficult to bear. I have a desire to be seen and received in this pain, but right now I lack a place that feels safe enough to do so. I either need to risk feeling unsafe, or just keep waiting.

It feels as real as needing air — a burning need bubbling and swirling within my chest. Except that I’m a thousand leagues beneath the surface. There is no air to breathe in this sea change.

Sometimes I feel as if social interaction is just an exercise in pretending like I’m not drowning. Something about that feels familiar, though, almost like I’m never not under water and I’ve just gotten better and better at pretending otherwise.

So what do I do? Take a big lungful of water? Sprout gills? Become water? Realize that the difference between me and water is purely academic or illusory?

When I was younger I would often dream that I was drowning. Stuck under the water for some unknown reason, I would feel that burning within my chest, the need for air. As the sensation grew in severity I would always inevitably take a breath, only to find that I could breathe the water, as if it had always been possible but it just never occurred to me to try before, or like I had forgotten something I used to know. What followed was not panic, fear, or death, but freedom.

Why should I confine myself to a life on land, anyway?

Apsis & Perigree

Chakras, spirits, auras, things felt but not seen. Varied, intersecting, and connected Truths. How do we choose which things are true for us and which are not? All things can be true to those who believe them. I like to say I follow my heart, but who knows. 

More reading the bones. Trying to make sense of the chaos, of things that were never meant to happen. Electricity conducted along pathways and through corridors of gray matter. Animated meat. Stardust interacting with other stardust, a mere moment of sentience like a firefly in the darkness of night, gone so quickly you can’t even be sure it was ever there. 

And yet…

And yet within that momentary flash of light lie wonders that defy explanation. Terrible, impossible coincidences. Things that feel so big they might crush us with their weight; 

You are not a drop in the ocean.

You are the entire ocean in a drop.”

-Rumi

I recently took a short flight from Izmir to Trabzon to see the Black Sea — my first flight since leaving Thailand.

Before the plane took off I sat thinking, as I often have, “What if I die on this plane?” I tried to cultivate a sense of peace and acceptance with that possibility to ease my anxiety. The response that usually comes to this question was brought forth to my mind once again; “Then you’ll die, and the world will continue to spin.”

But a new thought also entered this time — that, if I were to die, I wanted to die with love in my heart, and so I tried to think of all my loved ones, past, present and future, and hold them in my heart. I tried to fill my heart with all of that love and radiate it out to the whole world, to the whole universe, to fill the vast oceans of the world with it, to join it with the love of billions of other humans.

As I engaged in this practice, a final thought followed all the rest; “I want to live with my heart full of love.”

If I want to see love in the world, to live in a loving world, then I have to give love to the entire world, and to everyone and everything in it. I want to give and receive love the way rain falls or wind blows. Without thought or reservation. As simple as just being.

We are capable of such great love — this I hold with more certainty than any other Truth.

Great and tremendous love condensed down into a flash of light, a drop of water, a gust of wind. Small and great all at once, and no less miraculous for being so tiny and insignificant.

Maybe even more so.

As I think about sending all of this love out to the world, I realize that I haven’t been very loving to myself lately. I find myself engaging in old, self-destructive habits meant to soothe and distract. Lately I find it hard to write, even. I get easily distracted, filled with a strong desire to check my phone or just check out.

Maybe I’m getting close to something uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because of the things I’m avoiding writing about, orbiting them like a satellite orbits a planet, careful not to get close or even look at it lest I be pulled in and burned to cinders. Maybe it’s because every time I touch pen to paper all I want to do is tell you how much I miss you, to open a window to you in my own heart, to broadcast my love for you out to the universe because I have to do something with it or it will fill me up until I burst.

I still haven’t accepted this new reality yet. Maybe that’s okay. It will come with time, which sometimes seems to pass so slowly. This is my reminder to be kind to myself in the meantime, and to remember what beautiful, miraculous, and tiny things we are.

-w.

Climb

As I was hiking through the mountains I found a place between two hills on the path. I sat there to rest for a moment before the next climb. It was a cool place, shaded by trees from the midday sun. A weak light shone through the thick latticework of leaves and branches above. Dull green moss covered the sharp gray stones where I sat. I decided to take a short meditation before continuing my climb.

As I sat there, practicing mindfulness and acceptance, I felt a pit of fear pushing at the edges of my heart. I felt fear about what lay ahead of me. I tried to let that feeling sit and see what it had to teach me. As I explored that little knot of anxiety I was overcome by the feeling that this place in space-time where I sat was my heart and my mind as well — in a valley between two hills. I cannot stay in this place indefinitely. I have to climb the next hill to meet whatever may be here.

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It isn’t the climb itself that brings in the fear, but the realization that climbing it means leaving the last one behind. I’ll climb, plodding up the rocky path, and look back at times, but my view will be focused on what lies ahead. When I get to the top of that climb I will have to descend the other side, because there is always a descent. When that happens I will lose sight of the hill behind me. I won’t be able to look at it directly anymore.

I don’t feel ready. I have to climb, but the realization that it will take me farther away from the path I have already walked freezes my feet in place. But I can’t stay here, either.

I don’t know how to set myself on a path that leads away from you, from your warmth and your love. The thought fills my heart with a sorrow I can’t describe. And yet I am already on it. I’ve already made the descent. Only the climb remains, and the river of time only flows in one direction. 

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I let the sorrow fill me and I wept. Sitting there in solitude in the forest, surrounded by the sounds of birdsong and rusting wind, I cried with great heaving sobs.

As I continued on my hike that sorrow flooded back in periodically. I found myself standing alone on the path, crying to a cold and indifferent forest. My pain didn’t change the stones that sat on the ground, or the softly swaying grass. The chirping birds and the buzzing insects didn’t notice or care about my broken heart.

And yet, somehow, I felt comforted.

I felt such a strong love radiating out from me to the whole world, filling the spaces between the stones, flowing across the dirt and the thick bark of the ancient pine trees, soaring into the blue sky speckled by wispy clouds.

I felt how happy I was to be alive, to experience love so strong and so deep that its absence brings such sorrow.

I felt lucky.

-w.

Two Parts

I think I need to stop chasing someone else’s idea of a good time. I enjoy sitting in coffee shops, sleeping in and waking up to an empty apartment, lounging idly on the beach. This is my reminder to myself that I don’t need ruins, out-of-the-way locales, or grand sweeping vistas every day to feel fulfilled in my travels. A reminder not to engage in comparisons, to return to myself when I do inevitably find myself engaging in them, and as always, to be kind to the best of my ability. 

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The small things are what have been having the biggest impact on me and sticking to my heart;

A little sense of calm opening up in my chest, even if only for a few moments. Seemingly infinite grains of sand like tiny little stones. Fading into the background of everyday life, just another human on the city bus on their way to somewhere. Families laughing together in the sun. Realizing that the current hip fashion trend here is 90’s Seattle. Trying to pick out the different languages among the din of conversations at a crowded coffee shop. Perfumes and aftershaves. Flags fluttering in the wind. An unexplained, unknown smile between people I will never know. Waves crashing. A little blue beetle crawling across the dirt, blissfully unaware of the clap of thunder in the distance and the imminent downpour. The sounds of unseen birds filling the air. Coincidences. The pitter-patter of light rain. Sitting without talking. Wildflowers blazing orange and purple against the off-white of the dust, dirt and stones. Wondering about myself again. Searching.

I think I keep waiting for some kind of big “ah-hah!” moment that may not even come. Even if it is, waiting for it is making me miss all the steps along the way. I’m trying to attune myself to the present. This present. A new present. A present that doesn’t make sense to me just yet.

Swirling together with the sense of discovery and freedom is the loss and longing that still need to be felt in order to teach me what I need to know. It’s hard to balance those two truths, those two realities — to hold them and cherish them both at the same time. That struggle is familiar and painful and exciting, and it never seems to get any easier.

My heart still feels so heavy. Incomplete. Missing something. I am in a wholly new space. I miss the old space so much. It hurts just to write the word “old.” I want to stay with this pain when I can — not let it die or disappear, but to grieve with my whole heart for the loss of such an unfathomable love. I want to let it in, let it take hold of me, let it wrap itself around my heart for a little while — to let the grief and sorrow fill me down to the marrow of my bones. To honor. To rejoice. To remember.

One day I will search myself again and find something besides that sorrow. The light will flow back in, and back out, and back in again. Progress is not linear. Life is not a straight line. Be kind to and forgive yourself as often as you can.

-w.

Little Feet

“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”

-Thoreau, Walden

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My heart is broken. It breaks a little more every day.

I try to not let its breaking break me. I try to move forward. I try to put one foot in front of the other and plod ahead on the road to wherever the hell it is I am going. I feel lost — not in an entirely bad way, and not for the first time, but lost nonetheless. It will get worse before it gets better.

I find it increasingly difficult to feel activated. I feel myself going numb. The initial breaking was so painful. That last day I cried harder and more often than I think I have at any other time in my life. I cried myself to sleep in the car on the way to the airport. I cried for hours on the plane, face turned towards the window, hood of my sweater up over my head to try and hide, and the tears flowed and fell freely. Over the next hours of my journey it came in fits and starts, and then quieted. The roaring fire exhausted down to ashes, embers, and coals.

The feeling of missing is constant. It is only now starting to sink in how long it’s going to be before I see my friends in Thailand again.

I want to go home, is the strongest feeling I have right now. So innocent and childish a feeling. It occurs to me now, as it has before, that I don’t rightly know where my home is. Is it Woodland Hills, California? Is it Thepnakorn? Thailand? The U.S.? West coast? East coast? Somewhere else? I may not know where home is, but I think I know what home is — it’s a place of comfort, familiarity, and stability. It’s a place where that little part within me that feels like it’s perpetually clenching without my permission is given release. It also occurs to me how privileged of a notion this is, and how lucky I am to know what home feels like.

How do I lean into this? What does this feeling have to teach me? Searching for the wisdom of no solid ground. Somewhere within me I know that these feelings I am looking for can be had anywhere at any time. Completeness already lies within me, but I don’t know how to access it.

It’s simply a feeling of missing something without knowing precisely what that something is. I have to accept that maybe there is nothing that can actually fill that space, and to just allow myself to grieve.

While I allow this experience to run its course I walk. I put one foot in front of the other and try to let myself see things that are wondrous and beautiful. World Wonders. Monuments to culture, religion, and humanity. Places where sovereigns and disciples of the highest order walked. Often, I find my gaze drawn down to the floors of these places, grooves worn deep into the stone by centuries of soft, little feet on their way to worship, revere, admire, and wonder. Over the centuries the stone shows the paths of these countless millions of people, a billion tiny scrapes, scuffs, and cracks turned into the present state of things by the flowing river of time.

I find it not unlike the constant dripping of water on the stone. Each imperceptible drop alters the stone forever and one day it will be gone. This erosion has no objective moral value. It is not good or bad that the stone wears away. It changes as all things must, and change is not good or bad — it simply is.

I find myself in this place that I knew would inevitably come, within the chaotic and painful grasp of change once again. Despite my efforts to resist it, the water flows, and change comes. I will try, as often as I can, to accept the state of things as they are, and to remind myself that they will change again. And again. And again. Grasping onto this moment or any other is resisting life, and I want a life that flows freely.

Even this pain and this grief will not last forever. Part of me thinks that will almost be worse. How could I ever allow myself to get to a place where I don’t miss my friends in Thailand? A place where my heart doesn’t ache at the thought of them? It almost feels like dishonoring everything we shared together.

I can’t imagine my life without you in it, but here I am living it, somehow. What a wondrous, confusing, terrible, beautiful thing.

-w.

ลาก่อน

เพื่อน ๆ ที่รัก

ในเวลาสองปีที่ผ่านมาฉันไม่เลยลืมว่า วันหนึ่งฉันต้องเขียนจดหมายอย่างนี้

ฉันเป็นคนที่คิดว่า แสดงความกตัญญูเป็นสิ่งที่สำคัญ ฉันก็เลยอยากจะเขียนเรื่องนี้ เพื่อว่าเพื่อน ๆ จะเข้าใจความรู้สึกฉันได้

ฉันต้องยอมรับว่าฉันไม่ค่อยสามารถอธิบายความรู้สึกได้ แต่มันไม่เกี่ยวกับภาษา หรือ ความสามารถ เหตุผลก็คือว่า…ประสบการณ์นี้เป็นอย่างที่ท้าทายคำอธิบาย

ตอนที่ฉันเพิ่งมาถึงตำบลเทพนครฉันพูดภาษาไม่ค่อยเก่ง ไม่มีความรู้ ไม่รู้วัฒนธรรม ยังคิดถึงบ้าน ยังเป็นคนแปลกหน้า และ ยังเป็นคนที่ไม่รู้จัก ตอนนั่นฉันยังงงเสมอ แต่เพื่อน ๆ ที่เทพนครต้อนรับฉันอย่างดีมาก

ช่วงนี้ หลังจากเวลาที่ฉันอยู่ที่นี่สองปี ฉันรู้สึกว่า…ฉันเป็นส่วนหนึ่งในครอบครัวไทย เป็นคนของชุมชนเทพนคร ได้ความรู้มากมาย ได้ประสบการณ์ที่เอาเปรียบไม่ได้เลย ได้เพื่อนใหม่ ได้ความรัก และ ได้มีโอกาสมอบความรักให้คนอื่น

มีเพื่อนคนหนึ่งที่เคยบอกฉันว่า “อนาคตก็ไม่แน่นอน” ฉันยอมรับที่อันนั้นคือความจริง แต่ฉันรู้สึกว่า…อดีตมันแน่นอนอยู่แล้ว แน่นอนว่าประสบการณ์นี้ และ เพื่อน ๆ ที่ได้รักฉัน มันเข้าถึงใจฉันจริง ๆ และ มันเปลี่ยนแปลงชีวิตฉันอย่างดี

ถึงแม้ว่าตัวฉันอยู่ที่อื่น อยู่ที่ประเทศต่าง ๆ ส่วนหนึ่งของพวกเธอจะอยู่กับฉันในใจตลอดไป ทุกที่ที่ฉันเข้าไปพวกเธอจะไปด้วย และ ส่วนหนึ่งของหัวใจฉันจะอยู่ที่ประเทศไทยตลอดไปเหมือนกัน

หัวใจของฉันจะอยู่กับพวกเธอเสมอ

พวกเธอได้สอนฉันเรื่องหลายเรื่อง และ ได้มอบฉันสิ่งหลายสิ่ง ฉันแค่หวังว่าฉันได้ส่งคืนความรัก ความรู้ และ น้ำใจที่เป็นอย่างดีเท่ากับอย่างที่ฉันได้รับจากพวกเธอมา

ขอบคุณเพื่อน ๆ ทุกคนสำหรับทุกสิ่ง ทุกอย่าง ที่ได้ทำให้ฉัน สอนฉัน อททนกับฉัน ทำความรู้จักกัน กินข้าวกัน และ อยู่เป็นเพื่อน

ขอบคุณสำหรับมิตรภาพ ความรัก และ การสนับสนุน

เพื่อน ๆ ทุกคนจะอยู่ในใจฉันตลอดไป

คิดถึง และ รักเสมอ

ลาก่อน

Stranger

 

I believe in love. I believe that all humans experience suffering, and that it is through this suffering that we are able to connect our experience with the experience of all humans throughout time and space. I believe in the search for truth. 

Sometimes I feel I am constantly seeking and never finding. My mind spins, searching for answers, explanations, reassurances, and solid ground. Realizing that none of these things really exist brings the panic in. It surges like a wave threatening to overwhelm me. 

Fear. Fear that anything is possible and truth is unknowable. The fear feels real because the possibility is real — that everything I think I know is wrong. 

This is the sensation of free fall, of no solid ground. 

This is the sensation of a broken heart. 

Acceptance. Accept that no explanation, written with pen on paper, fingers on keys, or spoken aloud will take this feeling away; 

“Ordinarily we are swept away by habitual momentum. We don’t interrupt our patterns even slightly. With practice, however, we learn to stay with a broken heart, with a nameless fear, with the desire for revenge. Sticking with uncertainty is how we learn to relax in the midst of chaos, how we learn to be cool when the ground beneath us suddenly disappears.”

-Pema Chodron

I’m starting to feel like I don’t belong here anymore, or like I’ve overstayed my welcome somehow. I have never felt more like a farang than I do now. It’s like I’m limping to the finish line instead of crossing it triumphantly, arms raised over my head in celebration as I break the ribbon, a smile of catharsis, completion, and relief plastered across my face.

I feel as if I don’t know who I am. The liminal space feels particularly disassociating this time. I feel like I’m losing my grip on something, and part of me is whispering, just let it go.

Sometimes I can almost hear people thinking, “If you really loved us, if you really loved this place, you wouldn’t leave.” That feeling is so familiar, and so unfair.

I find myself prone to distraction more and more. The awareness that that’s what I’m doing and the realization that it isn’t working haven’t stopped me.

There are no answers here, I say to myself as I stare at my phone screen. I pull the thing out of my pocket, swipe the screen, and my finger hovers over the icons, unsure of what to do next. Nothing there can salve this pain. Nothing there can erase this confusion.

What will become of these relationships after I’m gone? Will I pack them away in a box labeled “Peace Corps Thailand”? Will I move on from them and not look back often enough? Part of me is afraid that I will.

Maybe I’m making myself into a stranger before that title is forced upon me.

Will the people here ever truly know how I felt about them? I wish I could lift all the barriers — language, culture, customs, fear of vulnerability — and just be seen. Pour it out. I wish I could make them see. I wish I could know that they know how I feel about them, about all of this.

Maybe I don’t even know myself…maybe I won’t know for a while and maybe that’s okay, too. In spite of that acceptance I still feel myself wanting to grasp while they’re still within reach, before there’s nothing to grab but air.

I like to picture my heart as a place, one with indefinite edges. It is a place that houses all of these people and all of these experiences. Do you know how much space you take up in my heart? Can you see that place? Where am I in yours?

All this time and all this practice in cultivating acceptance and yet I still have to keep reminding myself to let go. To just be whoever I am at any given moment and realize that “me” is not one way or one thing. To be my most genuine self, to live my truth to the best of my ability, to release the things outside of my control, and to not focus so hard on the miles that I miss the inches.

End. Next. After. These are not bad words.

-w.